1917 through 1920s
In December 1917 the 3rd Provisional Brigade was activated in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia and was subsequently deployed to Cuba to protect U.S. sugar producing interests, which were becoming victim to sabotage by Cuban rebels. Upon arrival in Cuba with the 9th Marine Regiment, the Brigade took control of the 7th Marine Regiment and began to protect U.S. owned property, freeing up the Cuban Army to chase the rebels. In early 1918 rebel activity had subsided and the Brigade was relocated in August 1918 to Galveston, Texas to serve as a ready force should a contingency arise in the Caribbean. The following April the Brigade was deactivated.
In March 1927, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again activated at MCB Quantico. The Brigade subsequently deployed to Shanghai, China under Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler during the Chinese revolution. Once they arrived in China, the brigade took control of the 4th Marine Regiment and the 6th Marine Regiment upon their arrival in May. During this period, the Brigade was responsible for protecting American citizens and keeping the Chinese out of the international settlement, which was becoming a target of Chinese anti-foreign sentiment. In 1928, Chiang Kai-shek became the nominal leader of China and the Brigade was subsequently withdrawn and deactivated in January 1929.
In March 1942, the Brigade was reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina and deployed to Western Samoa, to garrison and defend the island during WWII. The Brigade was again deactivated in November 1943.
Post-war Southern California and the newly established Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton saw massive numbers of Marines and units returning from the war in the Pacific. In September 1946 as replacement draftees were being sent overseas to allow the combat veterans performing occupation duties to return home, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again established with the 6th Marine Regiment as its nucleus. The Brigade consisted primarily of administrative groups and some infantry units as they returned to the states to be deactivated. On July 16,1947 the 1st Marine Division reclaimed the rest of the personnel returning from overseas as well as those in the Brigade, which again was deactivated.
1960's through 1970's
In May 1962, the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade was formed from 3rd Marine Division personnel and began landing 3000 Marines as a show of force in Udorn, Thailand during Operation Millpond to limit Communist influence in pro-West Thailand. Shortly after 3D MEB responded to the Pathet Lao Army in Laos during the Laotian Crisis, from May-August 1962. The Brigade was part of a force sent to limit Communist influence in Laos. The MEB forces included the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, HMR-261 and VMA-332. The show of force was over by August and the MEB was reabsorbed into the 3rd Marine Division.
In April 1965 as the forces began to build up in the Republic of Vietnam, the 3D MEB was reactivated at Camp Hague, Okinawa, boarded transport ships of the 7th Fleet and sailed for the Republic of Vietnam. Enroute to the Republic of Vietnam, the MEB was redesignated the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade. They arrived off the coast later that month, conducted a landing in Chu Lai and established an expeditionary airfield. At the end of the month the MAB was deactivated and absorbed into the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF).
In April 1971, III MAF withdrew from the Republic of Vietnam and the 3rd MAB was reactivated at Da Nang to oversee the 13,600 Marines of the 1st Marine Regiment, MAG-11 and MAG-16, which remained in country while the Combined Action Program was phased out. On 7 May, ground and air operations ceased, the last ground troops sailed in June, and the 3rd MAB was subsequently deactivated.
2000 – present
In January 2000 III MEF Forward stood down and the 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade was reactivated in the midst of supporting an international force in East Timor to provide logistical support for the Australian-led peacekeeping mission during Operation Stabilize. Since its reactivation, it has been actively engaged in regional contingency planning as well as numerous joint and combined exercises.
In November 2007 Cyclone Sidr struck Dhaka, Bangladesh killing close to 3,000 people and displacing nearly one million from their homes. 3D MEB deployed to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in support of Operation Sea Angel II where they delivered over 25,000 gallons of water the first day and over 352,000 lbs. of food, tents, and clothing throughout the operation.
In 2009 and 2010 3D MEB deployed to the Philippines to provide humanitarian assistance and disater relief. On Oct. 18, 2010 Typhoon Juan (Megi) struck the Philippines during a bilateral exercise leaving 26 dead and 39 injured. 3D MEB was already on scene and was able to team up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to provide over 170,000 lbs. of relief supplies to those in need.
In December 2012, 3D MEB was designated as the command element for the Asia-Pacific region’s alert contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (ACM). As the command element for the ACM, 3D MEB is prepared to respond within 24 hours to crises throughout the region. In the event of a contingency, 3D MEB will mitigate foreign or domestic crises, protect U.S. citizens and territories, or counter threats to U.S. national interests as needed.
When the Tohoko tsunami and earthquake devastated nothern Japan in 2011, 3D MEB deployed to mainland Japan during Operation Tomodachi as the III MEF forward.
Most recently, 3D MEB deployed to the Philippines to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the wake of typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. More than 14 million people we affected by this super typhoon and 3D MEB was able to respond to the request of the Government of the Philippines within hours. More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies were delivered and more than 20,000 victums were evacuated from affected areas.
3D MEB officially reactivated December 13, 2011 here on Okinawa and had a fully staffed command element on 1 October 2013.